RDPE Growth Programme

Grant funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy - what is available and how to apply.

This publication was withdrawn on

This scheme is no longer open for applications, for up to date scheme information please see the Rural payments and grants collection page.

Applies to England



Latest news

These grants are closed to new applications. The deadline for submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) was 16th February 2020. No new EOIs will be accepted.

You could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.

There are 3 types of grant:

  • Business development
  • Food processing
  • Rural tourism infrastructure

The grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which is part of the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF).

Read the handbook(s)

The handbooks attached to this page will tell you more about each type of grant, including:

  • who can apply
  • how and when to apply
  • which specific activities you can claim for (and which you can’t)
  • what grants are available in your area

Interested in the Growth Programme?

If you’re interested in applying for a Growth Programme grant, why not come to an applicant workshop? You’ll be able to find out more about the grants and how to apply.

To check if there is an event near you, see the list of applicants workshops.

How to apply

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will assess all expressions of interest. RPA will look for projects that meet the national and local priorities for funding, and will decide which meet the criteria the best. This means grants are not awarded automatically to an applicant.

There is a 2-part application process (starting with submitting an ‘expression of interest’) to tell RPA about the work you’re doing and how the grant could help you with it.

If RPA assesses that your expression of interest is suitable, they will invite you to submit a full application.

Top tips for applicants

Before you start an application, here are some important reminders…

Jobs + growth + rural

Every successful application starts with a good idea and a clear plan for how to make that idea a reality.

The whole aim of the RDPE Growth Programme is to create jobs and growth in the rural economy. Your application will need to show your project will help do this.

Sell your idea

Explain really clearly what your project does and how it will benefit the economy.

Show what the funding will mean to the success of your project. If you can show that your project is good value for money, and that you’re planning to use the grant money to improve your project, you’re more likely to get the grant.

Do the market research

You have to show that there is real demand for what you want to do, or you’re unlikely to get a grant.

Be prepared

You will need to keep detailed records about your project, because you’ll have to provide proof (including detailed quotes) of how much the various elements of your project will cost.

First round applications information

The first round of applications to the Business Development, Food Processing and Rural Tourism Infrastructure closed on 1 June 2018.

We have now archived these handbooks. If you need a copy of any of the guidance, you can email us at

Published 25 January 2017
Last updated 18 February 2020 + show all updates
  1. These grants are now closed to new applications. Expression Of Interest (EOI) form and guidance removed from the page.

  2. List of growth applicant workshops added.

  3. Information to confirm the Business Development, Food Processing and Rural Tourism Infrastructure grants are now open to new applications. Handbooks, Expression of Interest guidance and Expression of Interest form all updated.

  4. The Business Development, Food Processing and Rural Tourism Infrastructure schemes are now closed to new applications.

  5. The Growth Programme handbooks have been updated

  6. Updated text regarding LEP maps and MAGIC

  7. First published.